New North Carolina Law Would Allow Rescuers to Break Into Cars to Save Dogs


Written by: Phil Monahan

Worthy was just a couple weeks away from providing valuable service to a disabled person.
Photo via the newsobserver.com

Last Thursday, the North Carolina House passed new legislation that would give police officers, rescue workers, and animal-control officers the explicit right to break into a car if a dog is at risk from the heat:

The amended animal shelter bill, which now goes to the state Senate, would allow. . .[rescuers] to enter a vehicle “by any reasonable means” when they suspect an animal is at risk because of heat, cold, inadequate ventilation or other circumstances. It would become law once the governor signs it.

This comes just a week after an astonishing case in nearby Carrboro led to charges being filed against the director of a service-dog program. Deb Cunningham, the program director of Eyes, Ears, Nose and Paws—which trains and places service and medical-alert dogs—astonishingly left a Golden retriever named Worthy locked in her car, with the windows rolled up, on June 10. When Cunningham returned to the car two hours later the poor dog was unresponsive. When Worthy was brought to the vet, his temperature was 109, and he died the next day. Cunningham has been charged with one count of misdemeanor animal cruelty.

The new legislation will mean that rescue workers don’t have to wait for the police to break into a car where a dog is suffering, which ought to increase the number of dogs saved.

Click here to read more about the new legislation.

Click here to read the sad story of Worthy.

8 thoughts on “New North Carolina Law Would Allow Rescuers to Break Into Cars to Save Dogs

  1. Linda S

    Director!!! I hope she was fired for this! Unreal! Forgot about the poor dog? Please keep her far away from ANY dog!!! One of the most pathetic people ever! How about putting her in a car and forget her.

    Reply
  2. Nikki Jo Schyvinck

    I cannot believe someone would do this! my car is always running with air or heat with my dog in there!

    Reply
    1. Sandra Fuller

      The only problem with leaving the car/ac running is one or both could stop running and you could come back to dead dog.This happened to k9 police dog locked in a cruiser the AC quit working and the dog died.Another thing to consider too dogs left loose in a running car have knocked the car gear shift out of park and into drive and caused wrecks or hit the power window buttons and rolled down the windows and jumped out.If you must absolutely leave animal in car with AC on restrain the animal so they cant hit power window buttons or dislodge the gear shift and put the emergency brake on just in case they escape their restraint.

      Reply
  3. Elaine White

    Phil, Thank you so much for sharing Worthy’s story. I am his breeder. The past 7 weeks have been devastating for me. I have started a memorial page for him on facebook called “For The Love of Worthy.” The page is to increase the public’s awareness of the dangers of leaving a dog in a car. Heatstroke can lead to death very quickly. Thank you Orvis! For The Love Of Worthy, Elaine White

    Reply
  4. Jean Eddy

    The job we have as human companions to our wonderful dogs is to love and protect them. We need to be aware of the things that are harmful to them. Unfortunately negligence in this case led to the same outcome as malice. Let us all continue to teach and make the owners of animals aware that animals cannot speak for themselves. Be smart along with loving . Let us not have lost this beautiful dog without his life being Worthy of a cause. Thank you for continuing his memory . Jean Eddy His human grandmother

    Reply
  5. Jesse

    Amazingly all that’s happened is that this Cunningham person has been placed on a 2 week leave of absence.

    Reply
  6. CONNIE STANLEY

    I AM SO TIRED OF HEARING HOW THESE PEOPLE “FORGOT”, THEIR CHILDREN OR PETS, WERE IN THEIR CAR. I DO NOT HAVE ANY SYMPATHY FOR SOMEONE SO SELF ABSORBED, THAT THEY COULD LET THEIR CHILD OR PET DIE, SIMPLY BECAUSE THEY HAD OTHER THINGS ON THEIR MIND. WHEN YOU CAUSE THE DEATH OF ANOTHER, UNINTENTIONALLY , THAT IS MANSLAUGHTER AND THAT IS WHAT THEY SHOULD BE CHARGED WITH IF IT IS A CHILD AND FELONY ANIMAL NEGLECT WHEN IT INVOLVES AN ANIMAL. THEN NEITHER SHOULD BE ABLE TO BE RESPONSIBLE FOR A CHILD/PET …EVER.

    Reply
  7. Sandra Fuller

    My two dogs love to go bye bye and trust me I take my dogs in my vehicle more than most pet would ever dream about doing,but once the temps reach past 70 degrees they stay home unless I am heading to a place I will be bringing them in with me.Like the local thrift stores that allow dogs or the dog park.Winter time temps here stay in the 40s-60s so winter and spring they go with me a lot again any colder than 40 degrees they stay home.

    Reply

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